Cascadia Earth First and Cascadia Forest Defenders are protesting a plan in Portland, Ore., that would increase clear-cut logging of old growth timber in a state forest, according to a report in the Chicago Tribune.
Six of the activists were arrested at Oregon's state capitol, two for climbing up flagpoles, according to The Chicago Tribune. The other four protestors were arrested for locking themselves together at the secretary of state offices, the charge deemed as "unlawfully occupying the entrance to two state office suites.”
The two conservation groups are concerned that a plan the board approved in October would nearly double the amount of clear-cut logging permitted in Elliott State Forest. Near the town of Reedsport on Oregon's central coast, the forest encompasses 93,000 acres of Douglas fir trees.
The new plan allows annual clear-cut logging on 850 acres and “partial cut” logging on another 250 acres. State Forestry Department Dan Postrel said it amounts to 1 percent of the forest.
The previous plan only allowed for 500 acres of clear-cutting and partial cutting, which produced an annual yield of 25 million board feet of lumber. The new plan will produce 40 million board feet each year, Postrel said.
The overall demonstrations at the Salem statehouse began at about 10 a.m. local time and continued into the afternoon. According to state police Lieutenant Gregg Hastings, it involved about 50 protesters.
Land Board officials defended the plan, saying it sets aside more of the forest as a buffer for streams and sensitive wildlife habitat than was previously required.
Postrel said the department lacks figures for how much of the Elliott Forest is considered old growth, but most state-owned forests have little such timber.
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